The Specifics of APA Quotations

This is one of those extremely detailed formatting features of APA style that most students miss. There are strict rules depending on the kind of quotation or paraphrase that you are using. Let’s go through the most common forms here:

A Direct Quote – 40 Words or Less

If you are using a direct quote, put the direct quote in quotations. If the quote is 40 words or less, include the quote within the paragraph you are writing. After your quote is completed, enclose it with a double quotation mark followed immediately by the in text citation, then a comma (if the quote is part of another sentence), or a period (if the quotation ends a sentence). Either way, the punctuation is never after the quotation. It always follows the in text citation. In text citations are never followed by quotation marks.

A Direct Quote – Greater than 40 Words

If your direct quote is great than 40 words, it should be freestanding and indented a half-inch as a block quote. Whenever using a block quote, do not use quotation marks. Quotation marks are used to separate your writing from a quote. However, because block quotes are freestanding, we do not need them for longer quotes. Finally, the punctuation in a block quote follows the last word of the quote. The in text citation is then noted after the final punctuation mark.

Citing and Referencing “A Quote Within A Quote”

Have you ever quoted material that cites or quotes another work within your quote? Or have you ever wanted to use a quote that another has used in their book? Here are few pointers to remember in this circumstance. If you are using an original quote found in another work, simply use the in-text citation for the original quote, and the text you have in hand would be used on a reference page.For example, let’s say that the book you have in hand was written by John Smith, and writes something like:

For those reasons, Goodall notes various reasons why “gorillas become more aggressive at night” (Goodall, 1968).

If you are using the quote “gorillas become more aggressive at night” in your paper, you could write it like this: Goodall notes that “gorillas become more aggressive at night” (as cited in Smith, 2005).

This post was taken from The Big Book of APA Citations and References.

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